Pokemon Reviews: Gold, Silver and Crystal

The second generation of pokemon designs had a lot to live up to. The first 151 designs had been a phenomena, plastered all over everything from cards to lunchboxes, from kid’s pyjamas to planes, yes planes. Pokemon was one of the most successful merchandising franchises of all time and now the pressure was on to do it all over again.  The original game had no pressure at all, it was expected to fail. The Gameboy was an old system about to be replaced by the Gameboy Color, Pokemon was not expected to do much of anything so just turning a profit would have been nice. Nobody expected it to be the hit was, indeed the original game (Green) never made it to America since it was embarrassingly glitchy. Instead once it was clear how much of a success it was in Japan the improved Blue version was put together and that’s what went overseas.

With the second generation however lead designer Ken Sugimori had a huge responsibility on his hands.

Under the circumstances you could forgive the designers for playing it safe, mostly going with the old guard and just adding a few new Pokemon. But no, we got 100 completely new designs. What’s more we also got completely new concepts like baby Pokemon and Pokemon breeding. We also get a shift into a different design aesthetic, the Pokemon designs in this generation straddle a line between the simpler monsters of gen 1 and the more complicated monsters of gen 3.

Gold, Silver and Crystal represent possibly the highlight of the franchise as games. Keeping all the elements that worked from the original they upgraded the graphics, story, music and interfaces. Menu’s were easier to navigate, movement became easier, choosing moves became easier with a summary of what attacks did. They even added two new elements and balanced the over powered psychic types. Every change they made was a considerable improvement and so this game stands head and shoulders above the first.

If I have a criticism of the game, and the designs, it’s the introduction of evolutions for monsters from the previous generation. I’ll get to that more when specific examples arise.

But whilst the games are phenomenal, what about the designs. Well lets have a look.

Chikorita, Bayleef and Meganium

Well, it’s no Bulbasaur.

These three are fine but they demonstrate a laziness in design and a willingness to copy what went before that generally isn’t true of most monsters in Gold and Silver. It’s some kind of generic reptilian monster with a leaf on its head. The plant elements aren’t integrated as well as Bulbasaur and the monster is just generic. Bayleef is the same and also suffers from a terrible name. Meganium works though, the shape of his head and his antenna resemble a stamen and it’s positioned in relation to his flower where a stamen would be a on a real flower. Here we have integration of the plant and the monster, with the others we don’t.

What you’re getting though is a feeling of, that worked before lets do it again. So where Bulbasaur was a reptile with plant bits, we get another reptile with plant bits. Fortunately the other starters are a move away from this.

Cyndaquill, Quilava and Typhlosion

Cyndaquill is a neat little design. Take a hedgehog and replace the spikes with fire, voila, instant monster. He’s also really cute, especially the way his eyes are drawn. Bu then Quilava immediately spoils it by looking nothing like a hedgehog or porcupine and moving the flames so they no longer work as spikes but look more like a tail. I do love his mohawk though. Typhlosion, unfortunately, doesn’t even have the mohawk but is just a generic monster with fire at his collar.

Totodile, Croconaw and Feraligator

Pretty much as generic as they come unfortunately. Anthropomorphic, cartoony crocodiles. They don’t have a strong unified theme or any specific design sense at all. It’s just a well drawn cartoony crocodile. Unfortunately that’s going to apply to a lot of monsters in this generation.

Sentret and Furret

Without a doubt they’re the Rattata of this generation but unlike Rattata they’re not randomly purple! In fact they have sensible markings  and colours, gasp! Considering we got a blue crocodile as the last design that’s something of a surprise. Furrett (the evolution) is dull as dishwater, a cartoony drawing of an ermine/ mink that’s fine (it passes the butterfree test) but is uninteresting. Sentret I like  because it introduces the idea of the animals name, pose and persoanlity all tying in. This is a monster that acts as a sentry, standing on its tail to give it a wider field of vision. At heart this is just a cartoony raccoon but that one change gives it a gimmick to build attacks around and a sense of personality. That’s the kind of thing I want from Pokemon design.

Hoothoot and Noctowl

Again Noctowl (the evolution) is a real owl drawn in a cartoony fashion. I have nothing to say about it at all. Hoothoot however is a winner of a design. Gold and Silver introduced the concept of time in the game, adding monsters that could only be caught in the morning, day or night. Owls, obviously, come out at night. And they’ve tied that idea into hoothoot’s design by turning the feathery eyebrows many owls have into hands on a clock. That turns his whole face into a kind of clock and again grants a gimmick and a personality into what is otherwise just a cutesy drawing of an owl. I also like the whole standing on one leg thing. It’s nicked from flamingos and has nothing to do with owls but it gives him a nice symmetry and an odd alien look.

Ledyba and Ledian

This time around Ledyba is our boring butterfree-esque cartoony ladybug. Ledian instead looks like a power ranger. I don’t know why but the concept of insect themed super heroes punching people properly amuses me so Ledian is a winner in my book.

Spinarak and Ariados

Our first two examples of “stick a horn on it” design showing the finest traditions of lazy design are alive and well into the next generation. I will give props to Spinarak for the hilarious frowny face markings, well done.

Crobat

Zubat and Golbat are probably my two most hated monsters from the original games. Moreso for how freaking annoying they are in the game but also partly because the designs look more like doodles than a real creature. So it pains me to say this but Crobat is pretty good. Both in game terms and in design. The head and body look like something a real creature might have. Sure it lacks a neck but you can kind of tell where its head ends and its body begins, whereas Golbat just looked like a mouth with wings. Also the addition of the extra set of wings just gave it enough to make it look alien, different and visually interesting.

Chinchou and Lanturn

This is my third draft of this post and I still haven’t come up with anything interesting to say about either of these.

Pichu

And here we get to the baby Pokemon.

Gold and Silver introduced the concept of eggs. Pokemon could breed with each other (even with another species of Pokemon which is kinky as all get out) and in so doing would lay an egg. Most would hatch into the lowest possible evolution of that monster, so breed two Venusaurs and you get a Bulbasaur, breed two Meganiums and get a Chikorita and so on. Baby Pokemon are monsters only obtainable by breeding, not something you can catch in the wild.  Hence we get Pichu, the baby form of Pikachu. All the baby forms are designed to be cute, being, well, babies. Thus they have more soft edges, big soulful eyes, large heads in proportion to their bodies and no fangs, claws or other dangerous elements. Pichu as a ctuesified version of Pikachu works well. On his own the design falls flat lacking the lightning motifs of the shock rat and not looking like the real animal it is meant to resemble. But as an infant form of Pikachu it looks spot on.

Cleffa and Igglybuff

2 more utterly adorable baby forms. Cleffa is pretty cute and I love the star motif but Igglybuff is adorable! Mostly because that is the happiest looking Pokemon I have ever seen, look at his face! He looks so excited to see you. He’s like a 5 year old kid at christmas. Also Igglybuff is the most adorable word in existence. Just saying it makes you sound like a baby. Try it, try it now. See, I told you. You sounded like a baby and it put a smile on your face didn’t it?

Togepi and Togetic

As Pikachu was to Gen 1 they tried to make Togepi to Gen 2. This is the guy who became the icon for this generation. What did this generation introduce? Eggs? Well then here’s a walking egg.  It’s a strong concept actually and much better executed than Exxegcute since, well it actually looks like an egg shell he has there. Plus the idea of an infant monster still wearing its shell is kind of cool and it gives Togepi, what’s the magic word, personality. We’re also amping up the cute here with his happy face huge head and stubby limbs.

Togetic I can’t make head nor tail of though. The body is a lump, the legs and arms are still stumps but now what was the body in the previous evolution has been stretched out on a long neck and made into a head. It looks like a gangly teenager. Togetic, like a child actor, was best when he was small and cute and is now downright annoying since puberty has struck hard and struck fast.

Natu and Xatu

 

Named for Atu, the Samoan version of Adam or the first man in their mythology. Xatu, the evolved form, obviously looks like a totem pole, which is slightly confusing to me because as far as I know Samoans don’t build totem poles, but then what do I know. These are both very distinctive and striking designs with a lot more complexity than we usually see in Pokemon designs, at least in Gen 1 and 2 and they foreshadow the switch to a more complicated design aesthetic we’ll get next generation.

Mareep, Flaafy and Ampharos

Mareep and Flaafy I get. It’s a sheep, and what’s an evolved sheep? A sheep that has been shorn. The electric typing is a nice gimmick too, the idea being that it builds up static in it’s coat and then releases it as electric bolts. Overall these two pass the Butterfree test. Whilst not having an amazing concept they’re strongly executed cartoony versions of real animals.

Ampharos though, I don’t get at all. Since when does a sheep evolve into a giraffe? Because that’s what it looks like, a giraffe. I actually grew up around lots of sheep and I don’t recall seeing one Giraffe on the Yorkshire Dales. Although you can see a lot of llamas, but that’s another story. Actually Ampharos isn’t supposed to be a sheep at all but a Pharaoh, which, I guess I can kind of see but it’s very subtle. And what the hell do Pharaohs have to do with electricity or Sheep? Sheep aren’t even native to Egypt are they. Cows and Goats yes but you don’t get Sheep in such a hot climate. I guess that’s why all the wool has fallen off.

Bellossom

Bellossom is the first of a very, very bad trend in Pokemon design. Final evolutions for Pokemon from a previous game. By this I mean Pokemon that did not have a final evolution, or already have a final evolution in their last generation getting a new one in the current generation requiring some kind of item to activate it. In this case a sun stone. My problem with this is that it requires you to get Pokemon from the last game, and trading from older games is a bitch (less so now but it used to be horrendous.). This is less annoying in Gold and Silver since all the Pokemon you need to catch to get the new Evolutions are available in Gold and Silver but it will be a real problem in later games.

That aside Bellossom is fine. I love the fact that she looks like a hula girl. It’s a nice integration of monster and flower elements and it’s colourful. Considering Gold and Silver was the first game to be in colour you’d think more designs would use colour this strikingly.

Marill and Azumarill

Marill looks like a buoy crossed with a mouse. It’s kind of the Pikachu of this generation being a cute mousey animal design crossed with a strong elemental theme. Not much to say there. Azumarill however makes no sense, it doesn’t look like a buoy any more but instead a ball with rabbit ears. Because when I think of the beach I think of rabbits.

Sudowoodo

Sudowoodo is awesome. Firstly it looks like a sculpted Japanese cedar and that’s awesome. Secondly it has a face that’s so goofy it circles past stupid and goes straight back to awesome. Thirdly it kind of looks like a dick and balls with its two branches being the balls and the body being the dick. I didn’t see it myself at first but the first time I whipped Sudowoodo out whilst battling my girlfriend she burst into laughter at the cock monster I had just unveiled. Finally my favourite thing about Sudowoodo is that it isn’t a tree. It’s made of rock and only looks like a tree to confuse people. That’s an amazing concept for a pokemon. Sudowoodo, the lying rock hard tree cock monster.

Politoed

Politoed is another alternate final evolution, this time instead of Poliwrath. Unlike Poliwhirl and Poliwrath it actually looks like a frog, a frog with a coat hanger attached to its head. The curled hair is actually a reference to a Japanese myth about the king of frogs so I’ll let it slide but frog with coat hanger is not exactly an evocative design.

Hoppip, Skiploom and Jumpluff.

The prize for this trio goes to the localisation team and the awesome names. Hop, Skip and Jump, nice pun guys. I also like how the evolution mirrors the growth of a dandelion, from leaves, to a flower, to a ball of seeds. The actual monster itself is not especially well thought out being essentially a ball with ears, and in the final evolution not even having those. Oh and dead soulless eyes that stare  into you and speak of the endless void at the heart of the universe. Honestly, look at Hoppip’s face. He might be smiling but he’s dead inside.

Aipom

It’s a monkey with a hand on its tail. And two tiny useless arms. The tail would be a useful adaptation, much like the prehensile tails many real world monkey species have, if only nature hadn’t cruelly mocked it with such useless stubby appendages. How can it play the violin like this! In fact the pokedex entry even draws attention to this.

“It lives high among the treetops. It can use its tail as freely and cleverly as its hands.”

What hands? The only thing those little stubs can be used for is interpretive dance.

All kidding aside I like gimmick designs and this one goes  step further by not just grafting a gimmick (powerful tail based attacks) onto a generic monster but instead a cartoon monkey.

Sunkern, and Sunflora

Wow, you worked long and hard on those names didn’t you localisation team. I bet it took you all of, oh, 5 minutes to turn sunflower into sunflora. That’s almost as long as it took the designer to crap out a drawing a sunflower with a smiley face.

Yanma

Yanma has an even worse name since they didn’t even bother to come up with one. Yanma is literally the Japanese for dragonfly. If you’re going to be this lazy why bother even coming up with English names?

Wooper and Quagsire

For years I had no idea what the hell Wooper and Quagsire were meant to be except that Quagsire was some kind of newt and Wooper for some reason had TV antennae sticking out of its head.

Then I moved to Japan. And in every science classroom in every school I worked in there was one of these.

I have no idea what the English name is but in Japanese that is known as an Upa Rupa. And the awesome corona of blood read around its head is its gills. The reason they’re in every science classroom is to show kids how gill structures work as these are one of the few animals on earth with external gill structures.

Even more awesomely Quagsire turned out be a Pokemon version of this guy.

That’s the Japanese Giant Salamander, the largest amphibian on earth. Native to Japan and China these are incredibly rare animals who live very quiet and sedentary lives never straying far from the streams and cave mouths they live in. They have no gills but live their lives entirely in water only breaching the surface to take a breath. They can grow up to 5 feet in length and live for up to 80 years! Not facts I often associate with salamanders.

Wooper and Quagsire are nowhere near as cool as the animals they’re inspired by but they work as strong designs just by being based on such weird creatures.

Espeon and Umbreon

2 more evolutions of Eevee, the weird squirrel dog that can evolve into pokemon of a different elemental type much like you can breed dogs into all manner of shapes and sizes. And apparently breed them into a cat. I mean seriously guys, Espeon is a cat. It has a tail like a cat (well except for the prong thing) ears like a cat and a face like a cat. I get what they were going for, Umbreon and Espeon are opposites. One is night the other day, one psychic the other dark and one a dog, the other a cat. But its weird that all the other Eevee forms are clearly dogs and Espeon so clearly isn’t.

Murkrow

Murkrow is a crow with a witches hat for a head. That is pokemon design perfection. We’ve got a recognisable real animal done in a cartoony style but adding one strong element that gives it personality, implies its powers and attacks and marks it out as clearly a fantasy creature. I love me some Murkrow.

Slowking

Another alternate final evolution, this time for Slowpoke. If the Shellder bites the Slowpoke’s head instead of its tail that Slowpoke gains a fancy hat and ruff and becomes super intelligent. Although that super intelligence disappears if it loses its hat. I love that. I love that Slowpoke, the poster child for stupid monsters turns into a idiot savant with the addition of a poisonous clam hat. That’s such a completely ridiculous idea that it becomes a sort of anti-genius. And the hand clasped behind its back pose just tops it all wonderfully.

Misdreavus

A generic ghost with a nice necklace. Meh.

Unoun

Unoun is actually one pokemon with 26 different possible forms, and if you think I’m going to upload all 26 possible forms then I’m sorry but no, not going to happen. Those 26 forms make up an ancient alphabet and there is a mini-game in Gold and Silver where you have to catch all the forms of Unoun to decipher the alphabet. I like the alphabet idea and it is kind of cool to have some sort of eldritch monster tied into the ancient past and the key to unlocking ancient secrets but the execution of the design is very disappointing.  We basically have an eye and some lines. There’s minimalism and then there’s drawing a load of squiggles and passing it off as a monster. I usually like my Pokemon to look a bit more like viable creatures not a floating eye and some squiggles.

Wobuffet

Wobuffet is the pokemon version of those punching toys you got as a kid. Basically a giant balloon with a weight at the bottom that when you hit it would bounce back up again to be hit some more. That’s a brilliant gimmick for a monster and this is about as well executed as you could ask for. It looks something like a real creature that could potentially exist and considering the starting point for the design that’s a big achievement. What is weird though is the tail with eyes, although the pokdedex implies that Wobuffet’s real brain lies in its tail and that’s why it can be struck in its head/body so easily. The only goofy part of the design for me is that pose makes it look like he’s holding up his useless squared off limbs and screaming “why god, why, why curse me with no feet and useless arms?!”

Giraffarig

Hats off to the naming guys here, It’s a two headed monster so they went ahead and gave it a palindromic name. A palindrome is a word that reads the same forwards as backwards and here we have a monster that you can’t tell if it is coming or going. Well you can, since the tail brain is differently shaped but you get the idea.

Pineco and Forretress

Yup, that’s a pinecone with eyes and a…what the fuck is that thing meant to be anyway? It looks like some kind of robot defense drone in a sci-fi game, what does that have to do with pinecones?

Dunsparce

Poor, poor derpy dunsparce. I don’t use the word retarded for comedy because I know it offends but, c’mon, look at this guys face. He definitely needs a ride on the special bus. He is the living embodiment of derp. I don’t even know what to say about this guy other than that he looks ridiculous and useless and I feel sorry for him and his tiny stubby wings. I sort of want to cuddle the poor useless little grub. It’s okay Dunsparce, you may be goofy as all get out but I still loves ya.

Gligar

What’s more terrifying that a scorpion? A flying scorpion! Woah, guys that might actually be too scary for the kids. Better give him a ridiculous goofy expression, make him stick out his tongue or something.

Seriously though Gligar is a scoprion bat, I point that out because actually there’s not many pokemon that are a combination of two different real world animals despite it being such an obvious design idea.

Steelix

For some reason Steelix doesn’t bother me as much as Onix despite them having much of the same problems. I guess its because the drawing makes the individual segments look more connected to each other and makes it look  more like an actual snake. The new head shape is cooler and much improved on onix as well.

Snubbul and Granbull

Snubbul is a bulldog in a dress. Granbull may look slightly more bad ass (bad assness offset by his lovely lavender hue though) but Snubbul is a bulldog in a pink and blue spotty dress. I can’t begin to imagine who thought this was a good idea.

Qwillfish

Well executed cartoony blowfish. The only thing to note is his hilariously pissed of expression. It’s like when a 5 year old looks mad and somehow adorable at the same time. Qwillfish used pout, it’s not very effective.

Scizor

This metal coated evolution of Scyhter has a worse name and loses the cool scythe hands but is still a strong design. The smoothed lines and red colours make him look like something out of Kannen Rider or a Power Ranger. You get a lot of cute pokemon designs and a lot of cartoony ones but very few that look so sleek and dangerous as this.

Shuckle

Shuckle is a rock with what I think are supposed to be legs. Are you sure this is a design guys? Because I think the designer might have just been idly doodling and it was used in the game by mistake.

Herracross

On the topic of Kanen rider we get an anthropomorphic stag beetle ( a kabuto in Japanese) that looks like it could be a kanen rider villain with only a few changes to make it grosser and more organic.

Sneasel

I don’t know what this is. Weasels don’t have claws like this and have longer bodies so it doesn’t look remotely like a weasel. And it appears to have feathers despite being generally mammalian. It’s kind of a cool design, sleek and dangerous with a facical expression that shows an emotion other than goofy indifference or inane grinning but I have no idea what the animal or theme here is at all.

Teddiursa and Ursaring

Guys you just drew a bear. You forgot to turn it into a Pokemon. No, no sorry adding a ring to its tummy and weird fronds on its arm doesn’t count. At least stick a horn on it or something.

Slugma and Magcargo

What would a magma slug evolve into? A magma slug with a rock shell to make a magma/rock snail. I love logical evolutions like this. I don’t have much to say about the design itself except that its a neat concept well executed.

Swinub and Piloswine

In contrast I don’t get this evolution at all. Swinub basically looks like a hedgehog or a hamster or some small rodenty thing. Maybe a lemming because of the colouration. Whereas Piloswine is a yak/mammoth cross? I’m not following the connection between lemming and yak guys except for living in cold environments. Also are eyes at a premium now? Did we use them all up drawing the Unouns so there are no eyes to spare for Swinub?

Corsola

Corsola, because when I think of battling monsters, I think of coral. You know, the animal that spends it’s entire life encase immmobile in a piece of rock growing like a plant. Well known for being badass.

That is kind of unfair considering there are plenty of plant and rock pokemon but there is something about coral that just seems so passive and wimpy. Corsola is a fine execution of a fairly naff idea.

Remoraid and Octillery

Okay now they’re just pissing about.

How is Octillery an evolution of Remoraid? HOW?!!! One is a fish and the other is a friggin octopus. There is literally nothing in common, they share not one common feature. Shape, colour, style of eye, number of limbs. FISH DON’T TURN INTO OCTOPUSES! This is just…I don’t even….it just makes no sense whatsoever.

Individually they aren’t too bad, remoraid is a remora with a horn stuck on it (keeping it original pokemon) and octillery is an octopus with 4 tentacles which, well okay that’s kind of stupid too but….but I just can’t get over the fact that Octillery is Remoraid’s evolution. Why?

Delibird

It’s Santa Claus the Pokemon. This is a pretty damn awesome design actually, it looks like a penguin, it looks like Santa but the Santa elements are subtly incorporated so it still looks something like a bird that could exist. We’ve got North Pole and South Pole joining together in perfect harmony here.

Mantine

Mantine’s best design feature is the tiny Remoraid swimming underneath it. Hey you know what would have made more sense. If Remoraid evolved into Mantine. It would still be stupid but it would make a hell of a lot more sense.

Skarmory

A bird made of steel is a pretty awesome idea for a Pokemon. So much so that when I was a kid inventing my own Pokemon it was one of the first original concepts I came up with. Unfortunately the execution suuuuuuuuucks. Lets start with the head, first of all it has some kinf of weird split head thing going with a separate top and bottom half as if it’s entire skull is beak. That’s just weird and offputting. Then it has a horn on its head, which, sigh, is lazy in the extreme. It has teeth in its beak which is stupid. Its wings…don’t look like wings, they stick out at a weird angle and just look ike a load of razors slapped on the side. Its tail looks like the can opening attachment on a swiss army knife was rammed into its bottom and overall it doesn’t look sleek and swift and cool like it should but fat and dopey with a body shape like a pear. So much wasted potential.

Houndour and Houndoom

Houndour and Houndoom suddenly take a turn for the dark. I mean Houndoom is literally a satanic hellhound complete with forked tail, rib cage, skull necklace and horns, and it breathes fire. And in another good use of colouring the colouration makes them look like rottweilers the second most satanic of all dogs (the first being poodles). 2 strong designs here.

Kingdra

Kingdra has muttonchop wings and otherwise nothing else worth discussing.

Phanphy and Donphan

Phanphy and Donphan. Phanphy is just adorable, completely and utterly squee in every way shape and form. The cutest feature by far is the pose which suggests some kind of adorable stumbling waddle like many baby animals have. Cuteness personified. In contrast Donphan looks intimidating as hell. It’s basically a cross between an elephant and a road tire but the squat lowered profile gives it this sense of bulk.

Porygon 2

Whereas the original porygon was blocky and made of regular shapes this one is smoother and rounder but is otherwise the exact same design. And that’s a brilliant idea for the computer program referencing how improved computer graphics have gone from simple blocky designs to gradually smoother and more realistic ones. I like the name too which has a real artificial sense.

Stantler

I know stantler’s antlers are supposed to look like eyes but all I see are two fish swimming into its head.

Smeargle

Smeargle is an example of a gimmick pokemon done right. The gimmick is that the tail becomes a paintbrush but the shape of the head suggesting a beret and the stripes just add so much more and really sell it as the artist pokemon.

Little do we now that it is all a scam as smeargle is actually the perfect date rapist.

Tyrogue and Hitmonchan

Tyrogue is yet another boring anthro-fighting type with no themed features, except possibly the athletic supports on the arms. Hitmochan is decently executed gimmick pokemon (he does capoeira so he fights on his head) but again is generally a dull anthro monster. Tyrogue is named for Mike Tyson despite not being a boxer and Hitmonchan is named for Jackie Chan despite Jackie Chan not practising Capoeira. Well it makes as much sense as naming a boxer after Jackie Chan I suppose.

Smoochums

Smoochums

*appluads* well done Japan your perversion has extended to pokemon. You actually made a sexy baby.

A sexy baby.

I mean, look at it, look at the pose. The hands on hips, the coquettish head tilt, the name Smoochums? This monster is trying to seduce you.

AND ITS IN A DIAPER FOR DECENCY’S SAKE.

And they know this is wrong, you know how they know this is wrong? Because it’s the baby form of the racist blackface pokemon from the first game. You think they made the sexy baby and the racist monster linked by mistake? No, at this point they’re deliberately trying to fuck with people. This Pokemon is a big middle finger from the design team. It practically screams, “come on, call us out on this, we dare you.”

Elekid

Whilst I despise Electabuzz I LOVE Elekid. I love everything about this design. I love the expression on his face, he looks bad ass like he’s ticked and someone’s going to pay. But he’s so cute and small that his expression becomes adorable. And his theming WORKS. the random line are reduced so you can actually make out the lightning bolt, and his ears make him look like an electric plug. It’s an awesome little design and vastly superior to his evolution.

Magby

This on the other hand is still a fire duck, and I still hate it.

Miltank

Miltank is a big pink anthro cow, and that is fine. What makes it weird is that a lot of miltank’s attacks are love/attraction based, causing other Pokemon to fall in love with her. That combined with very visible teats and the pink colouring makes me think that somebody somewhere in the design team has a cow fetish they’re working through. Good luck with sorting that out guy but please stop inflicting your fetishes on us.

Blissey

I described Chancey, the monster Blissey evolves from as a fetish for someone since it was a pink nurse carrying an egg and it gave me creepy nurse fetish vibes. Here they’ve added a skirt and poofier hair which kind of confirms my suspicions as far as I’m concerned.

The Three Legendary Dogs, Raikou, Entei and Suicine


Whilst these are three very cool designs I don’t like them as much as the thee legendary birds for a variety of reasons.

First these are really complicated and cluttered designs. All of them have a headcrfest and some kind of muzzle feature, a back/hair/mane thing, a tail and markings on their fur as well as the bodyshape, fur and overall colour. That’s a lot of disparate elements and in my mind it makes them look busy.

Secondly the themes aren’t as strong. So Suicine is ice themed, hence the icicle on its head and the ice markings, so what does the big purple mane represent? Similarly Entei is volcano themed hence the smoke tail and fire head crest, but what are his jagged wing tuft things?

Finally I hate them for how they’re caught in the game. Unlike the legendary birds who stay in one spot until you meet them and catch them these three roam the continent and you encounter them randomly, and then when you encounter them they immediately run away making them bastard hard to catch. It would be fine if they stayed and fought but instead they flee constantly so you either need to constantly have a monster with the ability to stop them fleeing at the head of your team or be really, really, lucky with your ultra balls.

Larvitar, Pupitar and Tyrannitar.

Just look at how pissed off Larvitar is, for something so adorable it sure is badass.

I don’t really get what’s going on with these three. They have a lot of shared elements but the elements appear to be meaningless. They have these weird cut out bits which signify…something? They all have this ribbed section in their chest which signifies…something? And they’re all spiky which signifies…spikes. It’s supposed to be a rock dinosaur but nothing about it says rock or mountain at all to me.

Lugia

Lugia is awesome. As well as being sleek, slick and streamlined he just has a few oddly compelling features. Like his hand wings. The way they’re designed they’re clearly hands with four fingers and  a thumb but in certain other poses swept behind Lugia they look just like wingtips. I don’t know what is going on with the back spikes though.

I also have to say I love this pose, it looks like he’s going “hey wobuffet, check out these hands! Betcha wish you had a pair of hands like this doncha. I’m not even supposed to have hands, I’m a bird! Ha, ha, loser”

Ho-Oh

Other than being named after the noise Snoop Dogg makes when being suprised by a lady (Ho? Oh!) I have little to say. Somebody just straight up drew a crane here, and then gave it a stupid hair cut. And if stupid hair cuts count as pokemon design we’re going to have to start including pop stars in these lists.

It is also thus far the only pokemon with a hyphen in its name.

Celebi

Celebi is this generations Mew, the pokemon only obtainable at a Nintendo event. Celebi is supposed to be a Pokemon empowered by time and capable of time travel, so of course to represent that they made…an onion fairy. They had quite a lot of options to represent time, stars, clocks, the sun and moon, a blue phone box. But instead they went for an onion, with wings.

I… don’t get it.

CONCLUSIONS

Gold and Silver is the generation of evolutions that either make no sense (Remoraid to Octillery) or are a downstep from the previous strong design (Hoothoot to Noctowl). It’s also the generation that introduced more cartoony animals (Ursaring) and less gimmick monsters and abstract monsters. In fact there’s a general move away from theme all together, the Tyrannitar monsters, Celebi and Ursaring are all examples of okay designs without a strong theme in the design at all. We’re also getting a lot more complicated designs. The one change for the better for me is less anthro monsters, the use of animals as the basis even for gimmick monsters just makes for stronger design overall in my opinion. I also like the baby monsters even if they are part of a larger problem of adding evolutions to older designs.

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